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Visa Bureau Reviews - Christopher Hart shares his experiences as a successful Australian visa applicant!

by Tom 11/04/2011 14:20:00

Christopher plans on emigrating to
Adelaide later this year.

With approved applications for Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) steadily coming through, we've recently had another testimonial come through from a client of ours.

Christopher Hart is a wall and floor tiler, and his application for a skilled Australian Visa was granted in the middle of March. He's now planning on moving to Adelaide later this year.

Christopher had Joseph Tindle as his caseworker (who's proving to be a popular member of the Visa Bureau team!), and he passed on the following message to share his experiences:

"Hi, 

I would just like to thank Joseph Tindle and Visa Bureau for guiding me through the process of gaining my visa for an exciting new beginning in Australia.
 
From the very beginning I was given clear and detailed instructions and advice on what was needed for each stage of the process. Joe made what seemed like a daunting process very simple. Joe was on hand to talk on the phone about any worries or concerns I had at any time and nothing was too much trouble.

I would, without hesitation, recommend Joe and the Visa Bureau team.

Once again, thank you very much.

Christopher"

So, thank you Christopher! If you've recently used the Australian Visa Bureau to emigrate to Australia and would like to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Just send an email directly to your caseworker or send it through to us using the contact form and we'll be in touch shortly to gather more information from you.

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Visa Bureau Reviews - the Saunders family praise our casework department!

by Tom 01/04/2011 13:25:00

The Saunders family are set to
make Adelaide their new home.

We always love hearing from clients we've had the privilege of helping through the skilled Australia visa process, with Clare and Tim Saunders being the latest people to let us know how they found applying for skilled migration with the help of the Visa Bureau Casework Department.

Tim works as an electrician, and his application for a skilled Australian Visa was granted just a couple of weeks ago, and he and his wife Clare are now planning to move to Adelaide with their three children.

They had Joseph Tindle as their caseworker, and they passed on the following message to tell us how they felt about their experiences working with him to get through the visa application process: 

"Hi, 

I would just like to say a massive, massive thank you to Visa Bureau for getting us through this long and tiring process. We feel that we wouldn't have got through it without all your help.

Joseph Tindle was on speed dial on our phone and helped us with all our questions and problems - he has been our rock through it all.

Anyone reading this who is thinking of using this company, I would say a huge yes and would recommend them all the way.

 Thank you so, so much - we are just sending our passports off today to have our visas added at last so g'day to you all!

Love,

Clare, Tim, Katie, Harvey and Joshua Saunders"

We'd like to thank Clare and Tim for their kind comments and wish them all the best in their new life Down Under!

Additionally, if you've recently used the Australian Visa Bureau to emigrate to Australia and would like to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Just send an email through to us using the contact form and we'll be in touch shortly to gather more information from you.

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian Visa Update: Queensland State Migration Plan announced

by Tom 08/12/2010 17:39:00

Queensland has announced its state
migration plan and sponsorship
occupation list.

This week, Queensland  released their State Migration Plan. Their website has been updated with a page outlining the SMP, along with PDFs listing the occupations they are willing to sponsor -  click here for the subclass 176 eligible occupations and click here for the subclass 475 eligible occupations.

Queensland has become the fourth state / territory to announce their approved State Migration Plan, following the announcements made by Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory. 

What are State Migration Plans?

State Migration Plans (or SMPs) are set to play a critical part in the future of the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, as they have been developed by State/Territory governments to determine the occupations in which applicants will be eligible for state sponsored visas.

What will the benefits be to being sponsored under a State Migration Plan?

One of the main benefits of being sponsored under a State Migration Plan is how it will affect Australian visa processing timeframes. Applicants who appear on the NT new list of occupations will be moved to Priority Group 2, according to the current processing directive. This means that these applicants should see their applications finalised within 12 months.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian State Migration Plan Updates for 1 July, 2010

by Tom 01/07/2010 11:38:00

When the Australian immigration changes were announced on 8 February, 2010, it was said that 'State Migration Plans are being developed by State/Territory governments and include occupations that are in demand in each individual state and territory. Each state migration plan is approved by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.'

No firm indication as to their date of introduction was given, with only the vague assertation that the State Migration Plans would be launched in 'mid-2010'. Many migration agents and visa applicants were hopeful that their introduction would accompany the re-opening of the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program and the implementation of the new Australian SOL (Skilled Occupation List) on 1 July, 2010.

However, it's now 1 July, 2010 and none of the Australian States and Territories have released full details of their State Migration Plans. See below for the latest updates from each State / Territory:

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The release date of Western Australia's State Migration Plan will definitely not fall on 1 July, 2010, as the State Migration Plan still has to be approved by the Minister.


VICTORIA

The release date of Victoria's State Migration Plan will be in place no earlier than August, 2010.


SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The release date of South Australia's State Migration Plan will definitely not fall on 1 July, 2010, as the State Migration Plan still has to be approved by the Minister.


QUEENSLAND

The release date of Queensland's State Migration Plan will definitely not fall on 1 July, 2010, as the State Migration Plan still has to be approved by the Minister.


NEW SOUTH WALES

A Skills in Demand List of occupations that NSW will sponsor from 1 July 2010 for the Skilled Sponsored (176) and Skilled Regional Sponsored (475) visas has been released.

NSW have advised that there may be a small number of additional occupations added to these lists later in the year from occupations not on the new Skilled Occupation List if agreement can be reached with the Commonwealth Government on the terms of a NSW State Migration Plan.

To view this Skills in Demand List of occupations, please click the link below:


NORTHERN TERRITORY

The release date of the Northern Territory's State Migration Plan has tentatively been set for 1 September, 2010


TASMANIA

Tasmania's website states that the program will remain suspended until 3 July, 2010, although it's possible that this suspension may be extended as we have also been advised that the program is closed until further notice.


AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)

The release date of the ACT's State Migration Plan has tentatively been set for 1 August, 2010.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian visa capping: Our response

by Tom 21/06/2010 09:56:00

The Visa Capping Bill could allow
DIAC to cap and terminate any
visa application at any time.
 

A hot topic of discussion amongst Australian visa applicants and migration agents alike has been the Migration Amendment (Visa Capping) Bill 2010. This controversial bill has flown under the radar of most media outlets, but has the potential to be the most unfair and destructive item of legislation ever introduced to the Australian migration system.

You can see more details for yourself by clicking here, but to give a brief explanation, the bill proposes to provide the government with a tool for the post-lodgement management of the current backlog of migration applications. As a result, DIAC will be allowed to cap and terminate an application at any time, regardless of when an applicant has lodged their application.

To elaborate, DIAC could choose to cap the number of visas issued in a given year to applicants with 'specified characteristics'. To explain this term, I'll refer you to the following passage from the bill's proposal:

"Characteristics that may be specified include the occupation nominated by the applicant, or the time at which the applicant made their application. The characteristics will be objective, and relate to information that is provided to the department when an application for a visa is made."

Therefore, DIAC could choose to cap the visas for applicants with the 'specified characteristic' of any given nominated occupation on the Australian SOL (Skilled Occupation List). As a result, all outstanding visa applications with the same characteristics (i.e. the same nominated occupation) would then be terminated. This also makes it very easy for DIAC to close off skilled migration to any occupation of their choosing, as a termination will result in an automatic termination of all further visa applications by migrants who share the same 'specified characteristics', at least until the start of the next financial year.

While any applicants who have had their applications terminated will be refunded the pre-paid visa application charge, this won't cover the costs of skills assessments, medical examinations, language tests and any other associated costs, not to mention the emotional damage of forcing an applicant out of the migration process with no prior warning.

Additionally, unlike a visa refusal, it is not possible to challenge a visa termination before the Migration Review Tribunal or any court. This is because DIAC will have technically not made a decision, and without a decision there is nothing to review or contest.

The most frustrating part of the proposed bill is how it has the potential to punish the people who have followed the rules and jumped through all the hoops that DIAC have set up in the last couple of years, only for the potential to be removed from the process entirely with no prior warning. 

It's always been understood that there are no 'sure things' when it comes to the Australian migration process, but it was at least possible for visa applicants to understand what the eligibility requirements were and have a good idea of their chances of success. However, should the Visa Capping Bill be passed, the opposite will be the case, with it practically impossible for any applicant to know whether they'll be able to have their visa application finalised or if they'll simply be cast aside by the Australian government.

- Tom Blackett for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

The Immigrant Investor Program: A guide to Canadian investor migration

by Tom 05/05/2010 12:51:00

Download our PDF brochure for
more information on the Canadian
Immigrant Investor Program

We recently launched a specialist service for applicants interested in the Immigrant Investor Program, a Canada Business Immigration Program pathway that enables business owners and qualified managers to immigrate to Canada with their families.

More information on the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program is available in our PDF brochure and potential applicants can receive a free assessment of their eligibility by completing our online enquiry form.

To provide a little more explanation though, qualifying for the Immigrant Investor Program is based on an assessment of two factors:

  • The applicant's net worth; AND
  • The applicant's business or management experience.

Meeting the net worth requirement

Net worth is determined by the value of an applicant's combined assets, which must exceed their combined liabilities by at least CA$800,000 (approx. £500,000). The figures used must be fair market value and evidence of this is required in the application. 

All assets must have been obtained legally and, in some instances, evidence of source of income is required.

Meeting the investor business ownership /management experience requirement

If an application relies on business ownership then the applicant will need to demonstrate that they part-owned and managed a qualifying business for at least 2 out of the past 5 years. A qualifying business is defined as one in which at least 2 of the following 4 criteria are satisfied:

  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the number of full-time job equivalents in the business is greater than or equal to 2;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the total annual sales is greater than or equal to CA$500,000;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the net income in the year is greater than or equal to CA$50,000;
  • The percentage of equity of the applicant and their spouse in the business multiplied by the net assets at the end of the year is greater than or equal to CA$125,000.

Alternatively, if the application relies on business management experience as opposed to business ownership then the applicant will need to demonstrate that they managed the equivalent of at least 5 full-time employees per year in a business for at least 2 out of the past 5 years.

Making the investment and emigrating to Canada

Once an application is approved, the applicant is then required to make an investment of CA$400,000 with either the Canadian or Quebec government for a period of 5 years. In practice this investment is almost always financed, which significantly reduced the outlay and overall cost. As the Canadian Visa Bureau has banking relationships in Canada and the UK, we have access to the most competitive financing options available.

Once the applicant's Investor visa is approved they are then free to settle in Canada with their family. There are no restrictions once the applicant has settled in Canada. 

The Investor visa holder and their spouse are then free to work, set up business and purchase property. They will have access to state education, health care and other benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens. After 3 years the Investor visa holder will be eligible for Canadian citizenship.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Canadian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Canada business migration and the Investor Immigrant Program

by Tom 29/03/2010 15:21:00

The Investor Immigrant
Program is key Canadian
business visa pathway

The Canadian Investor Immigrant Program is a Canadian business immigration pathway that's been under particular focus as of late, with two prominent Canadian economists releasing a study that argues in favour of the program being expanded.

According to the study by Pierre Fortin and Roger Ware, statistics show that each family of immigrant investors leads to direct benefits for Canada, averaging between CA$770,000 and CA$800,000. As a result, the Investor Immigrant Program generates approx. CA$2 billion a year for the country.

However, even though Canada receives approximately 2,500 people each year under the Immigrant Investor Program, there's still some confusion as to how it works or how potential migrants can apply under it. With that in mind, I've assembled a quick 'FAQ' to help explain how it works.

Who is eligible for the Investor Immigrant Program?

Eligibility for a Canadian investor visa is based on an assessment of your net worth and your business or management background.

 The threshold amount for net worth is currently just over £500,000.  Business owners are required to show an ownership interest and management role in a qualifying business while business managers must have 2 years experience at the required level. Finally there is a qualifying points test.

How much do I need to invest?

Once your application is approved you are required to make an investment of CA$400,000 with the Canadian or Quebec government for a period of 5 years.

In practice this investment is almost always financed, which significantly reduces the outlay and overall cost to you. Our banking relationships in Canada and the UK mean that we have access to the most competitive financing options available.

What are the benefits to migrants arriving in Canada under the Investor Immigrant Program?

Once your visa is approved you are free to settle in Canada with your family.  There are no restrictions on you once you do settle in Canada.  You and your spouse are free to work, set up business and purchase property. You will have access to state education, health care and other benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens. Additionally, after 3 years you will be eligible for Canadian citizenship.

To speak to a senior Canadian Visa Bureau migration consultant regarding the Investor Immigrant Program, use our contact form to request a call, marking your message 'Canadian Investor Visa'.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Canadian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australian visa client testimonial: Byron's story

by Tom 06/01/2010 10:36:00

Byron strikes a pose as a
new Australian visa holder

A former client of ours, Byron Coetzee, recently started a blog summarising his experiences as a new migrant Down Under.

Titled 'Immigrating to Sydney', Byron's blog already has a number of posts that are sure to be of interest to anyone considering emigrating to Australia, with topics ranging from his experiences upon first arriving in Australia to a breakdown of how much it cost for him to complete the Australian visa process.

One of his recent blogs focussed on his experiences as a Visa Bureau client, which he's given us permission to run here as a testimonial:

How did I get my Australia visa?

Well for me I had looked into going to Australia a number of times. At first I did not make it points wise, but this changed after my experience in certain computer languages increased. Actually, my wife did the check and excitedly told me that we could go to Oz now. (We qualified for the 175 visa - which is the best one IMO.)

I did not want any hassles or uncertainty, and to be honest, I have reached the age where I really would rather pay someone else to take care of any research or expertise I might need to immigrate.

We looked at a number of forums and one company seemed to be recommended.

After an initial set of calls to a very friendly lady called Bronwyn Murphy, we were assigned a caseworker after a very friendly and efficient analysis of our visa points.

The caseworker was a guy called Marek Starke who worked with us for a period of about a year and a half.

I cannot have received better service anywhere. Every email or call was answered with in depth knowledge and courtesy. I would highly recommend them as a visa application service with a solid set of staff and expertise.

Hats off to you Marek, as I am by nature grumpy as hell, and I never needed to be irritable ever!

If Marek's bosses every read this... give Marek and Bronwyn a bonus for me!!

Oh yeah, he's a fellow South African..

Anyway, that's how we got our visa.

The bureau we used can be found here: Visa Bureau

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Working holiday visa changes on the horizon for Australia?

by Tom 15/12/2009 18:47:00

Adrenaline activities were cited as
one way to attract more working
holiday travellers to Australia.
 

It's already the top destination for backpacking British tourists, but there are signs that Australia could extend even more of a welcome to travellers wanting to explore the land Down Under on a working holiday visa.

Research from the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) recently identified international students in Australia as a large and lucrative market, identifying a new short-term working holiday visa as a possible solution to help students live and work in Australia for a little while longer after they've completed their studies (not to mention letting Australia reap the benefits of their custom!)

The potential changes aren't just limited to international students though, with STCRC also recommending the following:

  • Changing the Australia visa conditions to allow working holidaymakers to extend their visa, as well as a reduction in the required working hours to do so;
  • The development of technology centres for "techpackers";
  • New high-energy adrenaline experiences; AND
  • An expansion of healthy lifestyle opportunities in regional centres.

While changes to visa conditions to allow more working holidaymakers to extend their visa is a particularly encouraging proposal, it was the 'high-energy adrenaline experiences' which caught my eye, with example activities given as skydiving, bungee jumping, skiing, rafting, diving, surfing and trekking.

It looks like it might be a case of trying to 'keep up with the Kiwis', as the top five locations listed as delivering such experiences had New Zealand in first place with 42%, followed closely by Australia  at 36%, and then Africa (4%), Canada (3%) and South America (2%).

It'll be interesting seeing whether these strategies are implemented, as DIAC can be notoriously slow at introducing new legislation. However, even though it's still only at the ideas stage, it's encouraging to see Australia keen to maintain its place as a top destination for working holiday visa travellers.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.